You may be aware that I work part-time in a local café. One of the many features of this café, is their free Wi-Fi. The access code is displayed for anyone to use if you know where to look. Most customers will use the Wi-Fi for what it is there for i.e. so they can check their emails or show someone pictures on their phone, that kind of thing. However, there is an increasing number of customers that seem to visit the café with the sole purpose of accessing the the free internet.
On Tuesday this week, I arrived at work around 10:20, which is my usual time and noticed a customer sat at a 4 seater table. He had his laptop open and was also using his phone. I also noticed he was wearing a pair of headphones and one of those ‘cheek mikes’ that seem to be the norm these days. I hovered around his table for a few seconds before entering the kitchen and realised that he was conducting some kind of interview with somebody. Over the course of the next couple of hours, he still seemed to be talking to someone and on a couple of occasions, he got quite animated. He eventually left at around 12:45, or at least that’s when I noticed he had gone. From what I could see, he had drunk one cup of coffee and who knows how many glasses of free water. I mentioned to the chef that he had gone and he explained that he had been sat at the table since about 09:00. Just one cup of coffee!! The table staff have been told not to move people on, but to keep asking if they require anything else. They call it ‘good customer service’. But what about the ‘good customer service’ for the customers who cannot get a seat?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting free Wi-Fi in places I visit, but come on … lets not abuse it.
Unfortunately, my From Now to Then series has had to be put on hold for a while. The friend I ask to ‘proof read’ the posts is not going to be available for the next few weeks. He is in the process of changing jobs which has resulted in him emigrating to Canada. So for the next few weeks or so he only has internet access on his smart phone. Once he is settled, he has promised to continue helping. After all, I need to be as accurate as my memory serves me and it needs to be libellous free. Hopefully it will be not too long as I still have a few things to tell.
Recently, I was asked by a friend if I could do a bit of shopping for him. All he wanted was some blade for his razor. He has a famous brand of razor that uses multi blade cartridges. They are disposable and simply click into the handle. Very popular as they are supposed to give a very close shave. I have never really found them to my taste as I was put off by those horrible two blade disposable razors that were becoming fashionable in the mid 1970’s. I found them very uncomfortable to hold and use, and could never get more than two or three shaves before they were put in the bin.
But to the point of this moan. I went straight to a well known supermarket and sought out the ones my friend had asked for, only to find that the pack had eight cartridges and cost just over £22. I thought that they must be cheaper than that somewhere. I tried B**ts and they were more expensive there and the price in Sup***rug was the same. I was very shocked to see that the packs also had security tags to prevent theft. I bought some, but vowed never to buy them for myself.
This is my wet shaving setup. The soap-mug was a present, so I don’t know the cost. The soap was bought from the previously mentioned supermarket and was about £4.00. But the real bargain was the razor and the blades. The razor was bought on eBay and cost me £2.99 postage free. I came with a pack of 5 double edged blade, an comes with its own storage box. I also bought a pack of Astra blades. They came in a box of 10 packets, each packet had 5 blades. Price, including postage £2.00. But the real bargain was the soap brush. I had originally priced them up as around £6.00 for a ‘genuine badger’ bristle. The ones I got are natural bristle and there were 10 for £6.50, and they are just as good. I usually wet shave twice a week and have an electric razor for the other days, as it is often quicker.
At the beginning of last week I noticed a new bird in the garden. It was small, rounded, grey with a few white spots and a red ring around it’s eyes. I did a little probing around the internet and discovered that it could have been a Diamond Dove. This seemed a ridiculous notion as the bird is native of Australia. Now I know migratory birds can travel huge distances but this thing seemed far too small to travel very far. I took a picture and used, what I now know is Google Lens to try and properly identify the creature. Google Lens confirmed that the bird was in fact a Diamond Dove. I can only assume that it had been in somebodies local aviary and it escaped. It was with us up until around Thursday waddling around on the ground picking up seeds that the Starlings drop from the feeder. It now seems to have gone, which is a shame.
September sees races in the UCI World Cycling Championship being held in Yorkshire. The main racing takes place between the 22nd and 26th, but on the 21st one of the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International legs is starting locally in Wetherby. A local Knitting/Craft shop has been given permission to have knitted bunting both sides of a 1/2 stretch of the route. So a call had gone out for local knitters to create some bunting in the right colours. I managed to knit 20 triangles making 4 sets. I could have done another five, but was running short of a couple of the colours.
It was never going to be easy. People have different ideas of what a family holiday is all about. With 10 different people, although the same family there will always be some mild conflict with what people want to do each day.
This one has been exasperated with problems surrounding the accommodation. First there was a problem with the heating, to the extent that there simply wasn’t any on. Then the internet went down which meant that the heating,
which is controlled via the internet couldn’t be changed. Then yesterday, the power went off. Luckily the evening meal was cooked, but 10 people trying to eat at a table with only one smallish candle was a sight to behold.
However, all is good now, but there is still an issue with the heating.
We went to the world famous Tan Hill Inn. It is the highest pub in Great Britain and also the highest point on the renowned Pennine Way. It was really busy, full of walkers and general tourists. Me and K*** just had a sandwich between us whilst S**** had one to himself. The food was okay, nothing special but we just went there for the atmosphere. It was a shame that the Tan Hill Ale just finished as we got there, but we had a nice pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord.
The number of times I have warned people about the dangers of Internet shopping, I go and get caught myself. I’m forever saying that ‘…if it looks to good to be true, then it is…’ I can’t remember how many times I have told family and friends that the cheapest is not the best option as ‘…it’s usually cheap for a reason…’ That and advising people to look at the reviews and feedback, and then I go and ignore it all.
It was basically down to greed at the end of the day. I need a new, cordless hammer drill. The one I have is a cheapish one and I bought it about three years ago. The battery pack has started to lose it’s charge very quickly even if not in use. I can put it on charge one day and the charge will be lost without even using the thing. So when I had to use my corded drill to complete a simple job, I thought it was time to get an updated one. I did the usual trawl of the internet (or should I say eBay) to get the best price for what I wanted, and my results were coming up at between £35.00 and £50.00. So you can imagine my surprise when one showed up at £41.99 with ‘free’ accessory pack. What I wanted at the price I was willing to pay! Without any further research, I went through my cash-back site and purchased it, via PayPal.
It was a few hours later that I got an email from eBay advising me that “Your recent eBay transaction may be from a compromised account”. It also went on to explain, that “The item has been removed from the site, and the transaction was cancelled“. I checked my bank account, and of course the payment had gone through to PayPal. I then checked PayPal and found that the payment to the seller was pending. I quickly cancelled the payment and PayPal showed that my back account will be re-credited with the amount. There was a small caveat though, PayPal said it could take up to 30 days for the transaction to credit.
After wiping the egg off my face, I realised that this kind of thing can happen to anyone. I just took my eye off the ball and was caught. Massive lesson learned here.
I partake in a number of internet surveys. I do it for gain, not for “A chance to influence …”No, sheer monetary gain or for points/credits that I can convert into money or goods that I want/like. I subscribe to around four or five survey sites, but the most profitable ones are YouGov and Maximiles. YouGov gives you points in the range of 25 to 100 depending on the length of the survey, and once you hit 5000 you can redeem the sum of £50.00. Maximiles has the more usual approach of giving you points for every completed survey.
The main difference between YouGov and Maximiles is that you are never screened out of a YouGov survey. If you get an invite for a YouGov survey, you will get the points. It not always the case with Maximiles and recently they seem to be having an issue the closing out of completed survey. They say they are working on a fix, but it does seem to be taking a long time.
To date. I have had £100.00 from YouGov and a £28.00 bottle of Hendricks Gin from Maximiles. So bad for 20 or so minutes two or three times a week.
I also subscribe to Panel Opinion, GlobalTestMarket and panelbase.net but these tend to be more ‘miss’ than ‘hit’ when it comes to eligible surveys, so I tend not to bother with them too much.
A bit of an update on yesterdays ‘scary’ moment post. I noticed, this morning, a news item on my WordPress dashboard, advertising a WordPress event in Leeds. It would seem that there is a local WP group that meets up quite regularly. It is not likely that I would attend, but I thought it would be good to find out a little more, as I had no idea that this kind of thing existed in the UK.
So to get at the main details etc, I had to join up with an organisation called ‘meetup.com’. Sounded reasonable, so I went ahead and started to fill in the required email, username and password. I scrolled to the bottom of the screen, looking for the ‘next’ button when I spotted one of those Google location markers. To my surprise my location was described as “Huddersfield”. The Google alert claimed that the login attempt was from a PC in the Huddersfield area. A bit of a coincidence!
Now, here’s what I think has happened. The bathroom fitters had to turn off the electric for a while, which of course turned off the internet router. When the power was restored my PC tried to log me back into my Google account, and it failed a couple of times. When It did finally log me in, I then got the notification of the ‘Account Alert’ So it seems (don’t quote me on this) that the perceived hacking attempt, was actually me. Somehow, something was indicating the my laptop was in Huddersfield. Very bizarre indeed as it has never been to Huddersfield.
At the end of the day, I was probably safe, but it did shake me up a little and made more determined to review my password management.
For a few months now, I have had a problem with my calendar. My primary email account is a Gmail account, and the application that use to read and write my email is Outlook 2016. Here was the problem! Outlook has its own calendar, but I can only see that calendar on my laptop as that is where the data is saved. My tablet and phone cannot pick up that calendar, but can see my Google calendar. So, my work around was to have an application that synchronised both calendars. After much ‘Googling’ I such an application and it was successfully installed. It ran without issues for a good few weeks, but then I noticed that although it said it was synchronising, it wasn’t happening. It was assumed by the software company that produced it, that the latest Windows update was causing a problem. There was no apology or offer to investigate it was just ‘A Windows 10 issue’ and was left at that.
Much more Googling and expressive language followed, before I found the next answer …add my Google calendar as an Internet Calendar in Outlook and use that one only. Brilliant …and so easy to do. Job done and me now a happy man. But wait a minute, I don’t seem to be able to delete an entry from that calendar. What is going on? It seems that the Google calendar is read only in Outlook. I’m now beginning to lose it a little bit. More searching and another application is found. This one seems to work. It synchronises every hour, I would prefer every 15 minutes but can live with the hour restriction. Back to the ‘happy man’ status again. I then notice, that my Outlook calendar is showing duplicated entries! My language is getting worse. I looked at some of the help forum and it explains that this is one of the issues and the only way around, is to delete all entries from both calendars and re-enter them in one calendar only. Not going to happen. I have now consigned that application to the recycle bin along with the others.
So I’m now left with the only option I appear to have. I use the Google calendar and have it as a read only calendar when I’m using Outlook. Not ideal, but seems to be the only thing I can do.
Let me get something out of the way. The title of this post is not a case of self deprecation. No, I’m talking about the world and how is connected by the internet.
A bit of background here. I was doing a search on eBay, for something I wanted to buy. I was not having much luck so I thought I would widen the search to pick up other online stores. I add my criteria into a web-search optimiser that I’m beta-testing and clicked on the ‘Go’ button. The search optimiser is similar to Windows 10 Cortana, and uses all the available search engines such as Bing, Google etc to maximise the search area. Anyway back to the main story. It only took a few seconds before the results were starting to show and some of them were not what I was expecting at all. I found the item I wanted and have ordered it, but that is not what is interesting here. There was about twenty or so links on each results page and I think it was on page four that the “interesting” thing happened I was reading the link descriptions when I spotted a name of a person I thought I knew from school. The link was to a Facebook(FB) page. I don’t click on FB links as they are often not genuine so I opened FB on my tablet and enter the persons name. When FB opened I was amazed at the face that was staring back at me. Apart from a few grey hairs and the odd forehead line, the person was exactly how I was sure I remembered them. I ‘ummed’ and ‘arrghed’ for a couple of days before biting the bullet last night and sending them a message. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in contact after all these years as I’ve not had a lot of luck with friends from my past. Within a couple of minutes the message was replied to and it was who I thought it was. We messaged back and forth for a good half hour talking about each other and the past, and are now friends on FB.
Now I come to the “Small and strange” part. I had a look through their photo’s and friends list (as you do) and was amazed that (bear with me here) some their friends had friends who were friends of mine! Not just FB friends, but actual real friends. I can never get my head around the fact that a local (real) friend is a friend of a friends friend, if that makes sense. It’s a bit like when I discovered that the son of my manager when I was at work, supports by youngest son with one of his activities. Really does make the world feel “Small and strange…”
I seem to recall giving this a try some time ago. I must have had some issues with it (or maybe it had issues with me!) because I think I would have posted more this way. There has been the occasion when I have not had access to the internet. An email post via my smartphone would have solved the problem.
Anyway, this is just a test, so …
TEST TEST TESTING TESTING TEST TEST TESTING TESTING
I’m pretty keen, when it comes to my online security and tend to delete any emails that offer any type of security/antivirus service, often without even reading them. On this occasion though, I thought I would share it with you, as a number of people I know have received this email and at least one of them has been fooled and responded to it. I have copied the text below (all links have been removed).
Dear Sir or Madame
We at VirtureScan are an industry renowned internet security company. We have been contacted by your Government as your ISP is alarmed at the volume of emails originating from your computer’s IP address. We have scanned some of these emails using our VitrureScan software and believe your computer has been contaminated with the Zeta321 virus. Currently there is no current AV software that is able to detect this virus. However we at VirtureScan have developed an online scanner that is able to hunt down this and remove it from your equipment.
There is a charge for this service, and the cost will be automatically deducted from your Paypal account. We understand that your ISP are willing to re-imbuse you for your cost.
We are currently offering a large discount of 68%, if you undertake the service by the end of today. After this the charge will reverse back to its original charge of $360.00.
If you our a responsible person, then you will take up this offer now. Click on the likn below to be taken to our site.
As you can see, there are a number of spelling and grammatical errors, and this type of thing should ring alarm bells. The link takes you to a website which I understand automatically installs a key logger type of virus. These capture every word you type and are used by hackers to break into any online banking you have. The name of the company changes often so it may not be the same if you receive the email. Just be aware.
For sometime now, I have wanted a propelling pencil. I wanted one of the so called ‘old fashioned’ type, that you have to twist to move the lead out. I have a number of the more modern ‘clutch’ type, the ones that you click to move the lead. Whilst these have their uses, I often find that too much lead is ‘propelled’ with each click. This means that you only need to put the slightest over-pressure on the pencil and the lead will break. With the twist type, you twist out only as much lead as you need.
I looked in the two main high street stores and a couple of specialist writing shops. The high street stores only had the clutch type, and the specialist shops had some, but they were ridiculously overpriced. I then found one on Ebay at a very competitive price indeed. It was just what I wanted. I then realised that I would need some spare leads. Again a trip to the high street proved a waste of time. One did not have any 0.7mm (not good Theo) and the other wanted £4.99 for a pack of 24. As this was more than the price of the pencil itself, I left empty handed. It was back to Ebay!!
There were many sellers offering the type I wanted at various prices. I settled on one from Hong Kong who was selling the leads at £1.88 for a pack of 40 with free postage. As they the same make as I could buy in the high street, I bought them. Granted, it took about ten days to arrive, but at that price, it was too good to miss. They arrived this morning, by air-mail, well packed with a postage of $2.50HKD. A quick check with the currency calculator, showed that the postage converted to …………just over 20p !!!!
Are we being ripped off ?????? Twenty pence postage from Hong Kong !!!! £1.88 against £4.99 !!!! I agree, there is always a risk with buying over the internet, but anyone with an unusable gift voucher for HMV, might think it’s a risk worth taking.
So Wikipedia is having a ‘blackout’ in protest at the SOPA/PIPA. Will it make any difference ? Well I don’t really think so. Not here in Britain anyway. Two people have mentioned it in the office this morning. One thinks it is about ‘getting rid of internet porn’ and the other person thought it was because ‘Wikipedia is having money problems’. There was a brief mention on the BBC news programme at 08:00am, but nobody seems to have much of a clue really.
Does anyone really believe, that the governments, have no control over the internet ??? I only have to offend a public figure on Twitter or post an inflamatory status on Facebook to have the Police knocking on my door. No, in my opinion (and possibly others too) the internet content is already monitored by ‘the authorities’ all over the world.
I wish Wikipedia, and the others that are supporting opposition to this type censorship, all the best luck in the world. However, at the end of the day government, whether in the UK or the US, will not change their policies, just because they may be unpopular.
It’s been a long time since my last post (or so it seems). Quite a few late nights over the past few days. The play is coming along nicely, but after the rehearsal, S**** like to nip along to the local for a pint or three. Of course, like a good father, I like to go along too. Just to keep an eye on him (that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it !!!)
I’m still trying to convince myself, that Englands demise was not due to me wearing an England shirt !!! No really, I’m a little ashamed to be an England supporter at the moment. It really was not good. I have this theory though. When you look at all the other teams in this competition, most of the top players do not play in their home country. A lot of them play in the English Premier league. I think that gives the other teams a slight advantage.
I’m struggling to find time to post these days. What with the youngest wanting the internet and the ‘after drama drinks’. R*** does not have internet access on his PC. We thought it would mean, that he would never be off, and that his PC would end up full of rubbish. He has a habit of cancelling any programs running that he does not want. this means, that my scheduled anti-virus scan and the daily updates often do not happen. However, I am looking into resizing the partitions on his hard disk, to free up some space, and then possibly get him Wi-Fi access. It could be a long job though. Thought I would defrag his computer first, and that has been running for nearly an hour now. Windows defrag has never been very fast
Work is going well at the moment. Although, the stress of the past few weeks, has led to a number of trips to the snack machine for ‘comfort’ food. This of course, together with the after drama drinks, has led to an increase in weight. I must get back on track. S**** and me may be going out on our cycles for an hour or so today. Saying that, the wind is picking up, so it may not happen. Anyway, could struggle to prise him out of bed. We shall see.
Not too good today, started last night with a bit of a cough. Gradually got worse during the day. So much so, that I even bought some cough medicine. It’s a little easier now, but it’s still there.
To cap it all, my internet connection, is running on it’s backside. Trying to download a 10mb file took nearly 40 minutes. Almost like dial-up speeds.
It was a long evening yesterday. With the youngest being away for the week, he was keen to get back onto the internet. So much so,that it was gone 11:30pm, when he finally went back to his room. At last we thought (well I thought, Mrs H was already in bed), at last, he going to settle down. But no ! There was a print to do, and he was part way through creating one of his pictures. All this finished about midnight. “Bed now ?” I asked hopefully. His reply was the usual ‘10 minutes’. So he watched a video for just about 10/15 minutes. Of course, then he needed his ‘goodnight’ cuddle from his mum. So all in all, it must have been about 12:30am when he finally went to his own bed.
You would have though he would have been really tired, but he has still chattering away to himself at 01:00am. I know this, as I had just been woken by Mrs H. She is just getting over a cold (no not Swine Flu), and is suffering from a very bad hacking cough. It was this that woke me, and continued to wake me at around every 30 minutes or so. Then at 06:00am, on the dot, R*** woke up. So a late night, with fitful sleep, and an early wake up, sees me a bit bushed. And don’t for a moment think that R*** will going to bed early to catch up on his sleep !! Not a chance. It will be around 11:00pm when we get him settle down, and he’ll be up again at 07:00am. I could put money on it.